Media Lifeline: Men's mags

Gaz7etta is the latest title to enter a market that has seen a rise in freebies and the demise of lads' mags in recent years.

September 2006: The UK version of Sport, a title first launched in France in 2003, hits the London streets. A free newsprint weekly aimed at ABC1 men, it is handed out at train and underground stations, gyms and sports clubs. The target market is males aged 20-45 and the planned print run is 350,000, extending in short order to more than 400,000. Although troubled waters are destined to lie ahead, it hits its early targets and wins the acclaim of advertisers.

September 2007: One year on - and another weekly freebie targets youngish upmarket men. ShortList, a general-interest lifestyle title, is handed out to 500,000 commuters in the major UK conurbations. In the first edition, the editorial director, Phil Hilton, announces that the title represents a "new direction in men's publishing". Within six months, it is able to boast, based on its ABC figure of 462,731, that it is the most widely read men's magazine in Britain.

March 2009: Bauer Consumer Media announces that Arena, the monthly men's magazine created in 1986 by Nick Logan, is to close. Its slightly elitist take on fashion and entertainment is reflected in its circulation - it had been selling less than 20,000 copies a month.

April 2009: In 2006, Dennis Publishing had launched Monkey, a laddish men's proposition available exclusively in online and mobile formats. Now it announces that it is closing the UK print edition of Maxim. Dennis had successfully built Maxim as an international franchise in the noughties (it had become the market leader in the US men's market) but its UK circulation is now a mere 45,951. The plan is to retain the UK Maxim brand only in the digital domain.

October 2010: Bauer publishes a "trial issue" of Gaz7etta, a men's fashion and news weekly overseen by a team from the women's weekly Grazia. Its publisher, Ella Dolphin, says the title, expected to launch formally in January, will be "much more newsy" than Grazia.

Fast forward ...

August 2011: Now Conde Nast admits it is working on a secret project, entitled GCHQ, that will extend the GQ men's lifestyle magazine franchise into the weekly market. It dismisses rumours that the new title will be targeted solely at mathematicians in the Cheltenham area - revealing instead that it will be an upmarket national title and seek to combine fashion and grooming titbits with a pithy news section similar to The Week.


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